Moments, by Daphne Denley, is a poetry collection that recounts how the author dealt with difficult times and emotions following her husband’s cancer diagnosis. Writing became her therapy, a way to vent as she struggled to cope, especially with the need to retain a stable routine for their young daughter.
The early poems express an appreciation of quiet moments and the importance of making memories, of stepping back from the daily hustle before that time has passed and the opportunity gone.
In Cards Apart Denley writes of those she sends birthday and Christmas cards to but no longer meets.
“Truth be known, we’d rather leave
The past behind, just memories keep
Good times we had, but that was then”
Whilst aware of the need to treasure her daughter’s childhood there is exhaustion as she taxis the child to her many activities or simply struggles to get her ready for school each day. Parents will recognise the frustration of misplaced keys and offspring who won’t comply with simple requests and instruction.
The poems do not shy away from the difficulties of dealing with the expectation that parents remain calm and positive whatever they may be feeling or personally dealing with at the time.
The stress of the ongoing situation is obvious and at times false fixes are sought – shopping, alcohol, gambling. The guilt and regret that follow add to the relentless load carried, and yet some form of diversion is required.
There are repeated mentions of bullying but also the importance of friendship. There is concern over the damage inflicted from the consumption of ‘bad’ food and subsequent weight gain. Alongside the negative are positives including an appreciation of nature. Daydreams take time from a busy day but are a necessary distraction.
The poems read as song lyrics more than poetry. The author is a singer in a local band and writes in the introduction that she is ‘happy with rhyme’. The word order is often Yoda like to achieve this.
I suspect Moments will be valued most by those who have gone through a similar experience. If they provide any sort of comfort in such difficult circumstances, to author or reader, they are worthwhile.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Crumps Barn Studio.